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How NEXT hits the nail in the head

NEXT shares forecast

NEXT shares forecast

Over the past few years you’ve probably noticed a growing out of town pressence by the fashion chain NEXT.

They’ve seemingly managed to out perform the rest of the high street at a time of stagnant or negative growth for most fashion retailers. Check out the FT’s latest predictions for Next PLC HERE.  Even the popular chain Primark appears to be struggling by comparison in a straw poll of over 20 friends and family. Virtually all say the brands they once visited to purchase their ‘wear once bargains’ have now raised their prices so cheap isn’t quite as cheerful as it used to be.

So where have they switched their allegiances and what makes window shoppers actually dust off their wallets to make a purchase these days?

Quality,  quality,  quality – it’s the mantra that has served Marks and Spencer so well over the years and it’s the reason why Next stands above all others when it comes to on-trend fashion for young families. Next has a great buying team in place and they consistently deliver collections that are often 8-10 months ahead of the competition yet still relevant when the competition catches up.

They also deliver at a price point which seems remarkably reasonable when you consider the alternatives offered by the likes of New Look and Dorothy Perkins. It seems the only brand that comes close is the Spanish company Zara, but so far they seem more restrained in their UK growth – perhaps they are trying to maintain some semblance of exclusivity as IKEA once did when they only had one or two UK stores.

In my own poll it seems that people want clothes that will stand the test of time, both in terms of looks but also in their ability to withstand multiple washes without shrinking or fading. When was the last time you bought a £5 t-shirt from Primark that maintained its shape past the 2nd or 3rd wash?

The lesson from all this is that if you back up your message of a quality brand with quality products, you can earn new customers and word-of-mouth recommendations. Even if your products aren’t of the same quality as Next or Marks and Spencer make sure your customer service is.

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One comment on “How NEXT hits the nail in the head

  1. sparkstoneweb
    May 26, 2012

    Since I first wrote this blog another potential cause for New Look’s slow sales has popped into my head. Compared to Next, New Look’s customer demographic of 16-24 year olds have relatively high levels of unemployment right now. Like most of Europe, the UK’s younger generation are struggling to find employment during these times of recession. That means less sales for New Look and Dotty P’s and more market share for Primark. And because the quality doesn’t match up to NEXT, the 25-40 group who have higher employment levels, have moved up to the more premium brand.

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